How we measure up: U.K. students compare education across the pond

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By Lauren Nesworthy

Last week, one of my professors assigned us the task of memorizing and performing a scene of our choice from a Shakespeare play. Another has asked us to read and discuss a historical textbook. It seems that at Union, being an English major still allows me to dabble in other fields of the academic world.

Those of you who have done a term abroad in the U.K. (and maybe some of you who haven’t) will know that back at our universities, you choose your major—one major only, no minors or extra classes—and you will stick with it from your first day of classes until the day you graduate. No switching, no changing your mind later, unless you want to start applying for your degree (not to mention paying your fees) all over again.

As an English literature student, I tend to spend a lot of my time (in and out of class) with my fellow English majors, babbling about which authors we like, quizzing each other about what we’re reading or wondering how our latest piece of creative work is coming along. Basically, we’re all a bunch of book nerds.

But to my surprise, and eventual delight, on my first day of classes I found myself surrounded by students with a whole range of interests and areas of expertise. For me, it was pretty damn cool to realize I was sitting next a pre-med student in a British Romantic Literature class and chatting with a political science major about my Shakespeare paper.

As much as I love and miss my reading-obsessed friends back home, I’m having a ton of fun meeting such a diverse range of people!

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